The MAS in MAS Grey stands for Maritime Assault Suit. The color, as you might gather from the name, works well in maritime conditions. It might arguably be better called MAS Gray, but we’re going with the e (i.e., Commonwealth) version for SEO reasons – and because that’s how most of the literature spells it. It’s not a cammie pattern. It’s a color…except it’s a color that helps you camouflage (or at least not stick out like the balls on a bulldog).
The MAS Grey Gray
MAS Grey (or MAS Gray) is a uniform and equipment color very similar to Ranger Green. It’s been around since at least 2009. It is only one of several gray hues used tactically, but in addition to the guys who use it for doing work (usually killing people and breaking things), it has developed an ardent following in the commercial market. Several companies, including LBT (London Bridge Trading), LBX Tactical, and Tactical Distributors, produce gear, accessories, and apparel in MAS Grey.
Fact is, gray is good for gear – them boys in feldgrau got that right, as did other units both before and since.
As a single color, MAS Gray is obviously not a camouflage pattern, but it is an excellent neutral color, and not just in urban or maritime environments. It’s not a camouflage pattern, per se, but it does help camouflage if used correctly.
We say that while remembering that camouflage is something you do, not something you wear. Lighting/backlighting, illumination, contrast, tone, and movement…these are all important. Sometimes the best camo is being inconspicuous (hence the term grey man). However, if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need a primer on how camouflage works. And we don’t intend to go down the rabbit hole of light gradation, reflective ability, spectral characteristics, and the like. Just trust us (or the guys who use it). Grey works well. Some are better than others, but it works.
MAS Grey has a dark grey-green hue. It was first used (that we know of) applied to USSOCOM’s FR Dry Suit, used by US Navy Special Warfare units and likely attached personnel. It was developed by LBT (London Bridge Trading) sometime after the Maersk Alabama hijacking and subsequent hostage rescue operation conducted by DevGru (Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also NSWDG) to recover Capt. Richard Phillips in early 2009.
Several sites offer the following description:
MAS (Maritime Assault Suit) Grey was introduced by London Bridge Trading as a color variant that would provide optimum environmental blending for Navy SEALs to wear while conducting VBSS (vessel boarding search and seizure) and maritime operations. The color gray has a history of working well to prevent identification and works well within most environments due to its lack of contrast across the color spectrum. Given the obvious benefits of the color, and this shade in particular, Navy SEALs began utilizing MAS Grey for nighttime operations in addition to maritime operations. Originally developed for SEAL Team 6/DEVGRU, very few MAS Grey items were ever issued to Naval Special Warfare operators.
Many manufacturers who haven’t licensed MAS Grey produce an array of items in colors intended to sync well with MAS Grey. What began as the Maritime Assault Suit transitioned into plate carries, chest rigs, packs, bags, and all sorts of stuffs. Happily, for those who want to jock up in full MAS Gray loadout or at least be matchy-matchy, there are several hues that work well with it.
That’s a Good Thing because tactical fashion and LARPing is a thing. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You got your Wolf Grey, Urban Grey, Stone Gray, Glacier Grey…plus Toad Vine from S&S Precision, SUD Gray from EMDOM, Urban Wolf from Blue Force Gear, Steel Grey from UF Pro, and others; then ya gotcher Croc, Graphite, and several that would work in combo if nothing else is available (i.e., Range Green). Cerakote actually offers a couple of “Tactical Grey” colorways (C-228 and H-227).
To be honest, we can’t really tell the difference between some of them, particularly when you’re trying to decipher that shit on a computer screen from a picture that may or may not have been altered with photo software. And that’s why we don’t know if the picture below is MAS Gray or not.
Regardless, a good, moderate-neutral tone like MAS Grey is a good choice for gear in numerous operational environments.
And an excellent place to get that gear, by the way, is GBRS Group, @gbrsgroup (check out their Assaulter Belt System). That’s a non-paid, unsolicited mention/endorsement/whatever. Not that they need it. They don’t know who we are and more than likely haven’t ever read any of our crew over on Breach-Bang-Clear.
But we digress. Read on.
Some of you nerds will be happy to know you can even get a MAS Grey Minecraft skin. Perfect for nighttime operations.
Maritime Assault Suit
The MAS (or MASS, Maritime Assault Suit System) is often referred to redundantly as a MAS suit, as you’ll see — and as we learned ourselves — in the video below.
It’s more of an explanation of the Maritime Assault Suit itself than it is MAS Gray/MAS Grey, but if you have any interest at all in the hue or the gear, you should watch it.
A recent SOFWERX announcement read, in part:
This program is seeking the following surface drysuit variants: (1) Maritime Assault Suit System (MASS) and (2) Lightweight MASS (L-MASS). These suits would be used as a combat/drysuit for the Naval Special Warfare community in maritime, land, airborne, shipboard, and transitional environments. The MASS and L-MASS must be comfortable, yet durable enough for rugged field use. Weight of MASS not to exceed 5-lbs and L-MASS not to exceed 4-lbs. They must keep the Operator as dry as possible in maritime and all weather conditions, including surface swims and while immersed in 10 feet of water for 1 minute. They should not restrict the range of motion for activities including, but not limited to swimming, running, assault movements, and weapons manipulation. Additional important characteristics can be found in the Statement of Objectives (SOO) at the bottom of this webpage.